Jews get more than 100 times more Nobel Prizes than their demographics would predict. That’s very disproportional. But why?
Is it favoritism? Hardly. The Jew is the eternal outsider in the Western world. Anti-Jewish sentiments are nowhere higher than at the top of Western societies.
Is it because of their genes (No, not: jeans, Levis)? We’re not a race. We have genetic material from every race on earth. Because we do accept converts–though not easily. We are a Nation, a People, not a Race.
Are they smarter? That would be nice. Especially for teachers. Some Jews stand out for being smart. But all they do is reinforce the stereotype. Some Gentiles are razor-sharp. And some Jews are really dumb. Really.
Is it the wisdom of ages (the Sages) shining through? No doubt, it could help to be raised in a tradition and culture that teaches great wisdom and high morality. But then, why are the brightest Jewish lights in the modern world, Jews who left the fold? Spinoza, Freud, Einstein, Feynman, Penrose. If their brainy background was so helpful, would they have abandoned it?
Divine intervention? Jews believe that G^d created the Universe but is not part of it. G^d’s communications are more about why than how. Good luck proving G^d’s Presence or Actions!
Let me suggest something else.
The Noble Prizes generally are rewarded for the greatest innovations. To innovate, you need two things:
- Trust that you can.
Jews had to adapt over and over again to survive.
- Work hard.
Now, there are lazy Jews but that’s not what we’re known for. A Gentile colleague at work once asked me: “Why are Jews always running? You also have 24 hours in a day, no?” We know how precious every minute is. A wasted minute doesn’t return.
Einstein remarked his work was “1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.”
Jews, on average, are often also richer than their Gentile counterparts in the same population, although 80% of them work for a living like almost everyone else. No, as a group, we’re not privileged or overprotected. We simply work harder.
Don’t worry. A real anti-Semite can as easily “hate them because they have all the power” as “I can’t stand that they work so hard. It’s unfair.”
The American dream myth that if you work hard you can become anything you want is false. But a group working harder does make an average difference. As the Chinese living in exile also show. Someone once said: “The Chinese are Jews without Shabbat.”
So, Jews get more Nobel Prizes because, on average, they work harder.